Freedom of expression is great, but silence is golden – at least when it comes to amoebae, which are intestine-dwelling parasites that cause life-threatening dysentery in many parts of the world. Three years ago, scientists at the Weizmann Institute accidentally discovered a way to silence the expression of a key amoebic gene, one which codes for a toxic protein that kills human intestinal cells infected with this devastating illness. Now the scientists have developed a way to successfully silence the expression of two additional virulence genes in the same amoebae.
Rivka Bracha and colleagues in the lab of Prof. David Mirelman in the Biological Chemistry Department had shown that expression of the gene coding for the toxic protein could be prevented by inserting a plasmid (a small loop of DNA) containing a copy of a specific part of that gene into the amoeba cell nucleus. Introducing the plasmid led to the modification of DNA "packing" proteins, causing the DNA-protein packages to become more tightly coiled – something like a tangled telephone cord – and causing an irreversible silencing of gene expression. In a recent paper published in PLoS Pathogens, the Weizmann scientists report the silencing of two additional virulence genes in the same amoebae using a similar plasmid-induced principle.
The disabled amoebae, though rendered harmless, still display the same repertoire of surface antigens (markers recognized by the immune system) as the disease-causing strain. The scientists now plan to test the ability of these silenced amoebae to serve as a live vaccine by evoking an intestinal immune response. If successful, it may put an end to amoebic diseases that claim the lives of thousands yearly and afflict millions more.
Jennifer Manning | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > scientists
Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease
21.08.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council
Nanobot pumps destroy nerve agents
21.08.2018 | American Chemical Society
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering